A candidate Formula 1 team, believed to be Andretti, has begun to hire key technical personnel as they continue with their bid to join the grid.
In January, Andretti responded to the FIA's 'Expression of Interest' process by announcing they would bid to join Grand Prix racing from 2026 in partnership with General Motors and the Cadillac brand.
Despite the support of FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, the current 10 teams and F1 itself have been more lukewarm towards Andretti's plans, and have suggested that the $200 million anti-dilution fee could be tripled to $600 million.
However, as RacingNews365 wrote last month, that could land F1 in trouble with the European Union.
Andretti's bid process is ongoing, with a formal notification of application due in April ahead of a final decision being made by the FIA in June.
However, that has not stopped the candidate team, based in Banbury in the UK - the home of Andretti's Formula E operations - from beginning to hire technical staff.
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Candidate team hire Technical Director
The candidate team has appointed Nick Chester as Technical Director - starting in March 2023 for a "Top Tier Motorsport Team" according to his LinkedIn page.
Chester has nearly 30 years of experience in Formula 1, starting with Arrows in the mid-1990s before moving to Renault, serving as Head of Vehicle Performance Group when Fernando Alonso won his two titles in 2005 and 2006.
By May 2013, Chester had risen to Technical Director for the now Lotus F1 Team and held the same title when Renault returned in 2016, before leaving the Enstone squad in July 2020.
Chester (below) spent time at Mercedes and McLaren in Formula E, leaving his role with the latter in February 2023.
Further signings for candidate team
John McQuilliam has been appointed as Chief Designer for the same "Top Tier Motorsport Team", having started out at Jordan as Chief Designer in 1991.
He was the Technical Director of Manor Grand Prix when that team went bust in early 2017, moving to Prodrive and becoming Director of Engineering in April 2019.
The Head of Aerodynamics position has also been filled by Jon Tomlinson - who worked with Chester at Renault/Lotus.
Tomlinson also had a spell as Head of Aero at Williams between 2006 and 2011 and has also spent time at Mercedes in roles across both the F1 and FE operations.
RacingNews365 has approached Andretti for comment, but received no response.
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